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Every Mountain Made Low

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Loxley Fiddleback can see the dead, but the problem is... the dead can see her.

Ghosts have always been cruel to Loxley Fiddleback - but none more than the spirit of her only friend, alive only hours earlier. Loxley isn’t equipped to solve a murder: she lives near the bottom of a cutthroat, strip-mined metropolis known as “The Hole,” suffers from crippling anxiety and can't
Paperback, 412 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Solaris
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Average rating 3.50  · 
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Rosemarie Short
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
If I were to try to simplify Every Mountain Made Low, I might say that reading this book is like being submerged in a very cold, very deep vat of water, without any warning, and without knowing how to swim. Be warned now – I wouldn’t necessarily recommend someone read this book for pleasure. It isn’t a beach / poolside paperback. This is some heavy stuff. I’m talking dealing with disabilities, sexual assault, murder, torture…not exactly story hour topics.

Saying that, I really liked this book.

I a
This was... a weird book. I don't really know where to begin with reviewing it, but since it was from NetGalley, I'll do my best and hopefully copy it across to my blog at some point.

This book is weird because it's very hard to explain what it's about. It's hard enough to pin down its genre. There are ghosts, but I wouldn't really call it fantasy. In some ways it's alternate history. It's got a strange, subterranean world hollowed out by miners and within it, a new hierarchy and new set of rule
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I got this ARC from Netgalley and this is my honest review.

Not for me I am afraid.

Loxley is a young woman with a disability. Autism maybe. She can also see ghosts.Her mother told her it was in their blood.Of course her mother is dead now and Loxley is alone left to fend for herself against the living and the dead.

"Her mother could see the recently dead . Her mother said all the women of Loxley’s family could see them , but that had never been demonstrated because she’d had never met any of her o
Aug 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
This one didn't work for me, unfortunately.

Loxley, a girl who suffers from a mental affliction, is left alone in the world after her mother dies. She works multiple jobs in the hopes of one day owning her own personal farm. Those dreams are put on hold when her best friend (and first love?) Nora is murdered. As Loxley's life spirals out of control, revenge becomes her new focus.

(view spoiler)
Nov 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought Every Mountain Made Low was well-written, with an interesting alternate history setting, a unique protagonist, and some compelling characters. The book was a bit confusing at times, but I believed that to be intentional based on the main character's difficulty relating to the world around her (she's clearly somewhere on the autism spectrum). I did at first find this viewpoint frustrating, but that wore off.

Loxley, the protagonist, spends a lot of time behaving in ways that are frustrat
Emily Adams
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In one word: incredible.

In many words: this book is for anyone who likes the unordinary and strange. Over time, you get to know the protagonist like you would a friend. She is like an onion, with each layer you love her a little bit deeper. Through her eyes you will understand what autism can feel like and that, while different, she is as strong (if not stronger), intelligent, and capable as those without autism.

I fully enjoyed following her through the craziness that became her life and I woul
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: digital-copy
Well... that was weird. In a world where every other novel feels like a copy of that one other novel you read one or two or ten years ago, finding a story so damn original was overwhelming. Its inventiveness doesn't always work well, but there are many great things to rescue from it.
Loxley is a compelling character. Everything about her is endlessly interesting: she's a gay woman with some unspecified mental disability who works as a farmer, market seller, street musician and as assistant to an
Donald Richter
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story is dark and rich, the characters full bodied and relate-able. Their struggles even more so. There is so much I could say about this, but I feel as though any discussion runs the risk of spoiling the exceptionally crafted twists and turns White has built.

As a reader I am usually pretty picky about the things I pick up and invest my time into. So to be honest when I first grabbed a copy of this I was hesitant. By the 5th page, I was glued. I'm not a terribly fast reader as I'm used to c
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unsettling but intriguing
G. Deyke
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
First things first: the back cover summary is full of lies. Loxley does not suffer from crippling anxiety by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, she's barely even anxious at all (though she is sometimes justifiably afraid).

What she actually is: autistic. Also she presumably has Down syndrome, though the only real indication of that is in the particular flavour of slurs hurled at her. That this is marketed as anxiety is honestly shameful. Not a flaw in the book, certainly, but a definite fla
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

Every Mountain Made Low is a sci-fi novel from Alex White. It takes place in a town-within-a-mountain, somewhere in a slightly alternate Alabama, following a protagonist with a somewhat unique perspective, as she attempts to avenge a murder, and, preferably, survive.

The world the reader is thrown into is a heavily stratified one, geographically and socially. The population appear to live in concentric rings within a mountain which is itself being mi
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quality Rating: Three Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Stars

◆ Thanks to NetGalley for this ebook for review ◆

Every Mountain Made Low was, for the most part, very enjoyable. It's only really just occurring to me how strange that title is; there's no clear link to the story, and the general atmosphere it suggests doesn't suit this book. Nonetheless, White had an engaging premise, a great protagonist and executed his story very well in places - but overall, I can't help feeling that this novel didn't re
Katie Greenwood
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
**Actual rating - 2.5**

This book was not for me. It took me an absolute age to read. The plot was utterly insane and I didn't particularly like any of the characters. I still, to this day can't explain the plot nor the motivations behind it. There were an awful lot of elements to this novel, it was dystopian in the construction of the setting, yet it was meant to be set during the 1980's, the main character had social anxiety and autism but could also see ghosts. Loxley, the aforementioned main
Review originally published on The Curious SFF Reader

Well I am usually bad at writing book synopsis but this book isn't making the process easier. I don't even know the genre of this story, it is dealing with issues like disablity and Down syndrome, it has elements of horror (the main characters sees ghosts and can host their spirit), it's also dealing with dystopian society (a huge corporation is managing the country and people are put in extremely rigid class system)

. The plot is also pretty
Sep 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
After investing in 200 pages I still did not have any warm feelings for Loxley. Skimmed about 30 more & after that-still 150+ to go so I said FORGET IT. So many interactions between characters & Loxley were basically: You're a retard. I am not! (Author's wording not mine.) Tiring & boring. ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Every Mountain Made Low is a supernatural thriller about a young woman, autistic and suffering from crippling social anxiety, who can see ghosts. The book takes place in the 1980s, but has an alternate history from ours. Loxley Fiddleback lives in a massive city composed of nine stacked rings (which may be an obvious metaphor or just a cute reference), with the wealthy at the top and the lower levels being poor and crime-ridden. When her only friend is murdered, she vows revenge, but how does so ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it
This was one of those books that snuck up on me. I went in cold not quite knowing what to expect. White has created an incredible world of status through the rings within the world. It was a risk making Loxley be autistic as she is often abused by her boss and by the ghosts that she can see. As a reader, this made me a bit uncomfortable if I am being honest. Abuse in any form to female characters is difficult, it amped up due to the Loxley character. I felt tense reading the book. Other than tho ...more
Mar 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Not bad. Nice to see a gay lead in a ubran fantasy-like novel.
Ransom Stephens
I read Alex White’s Every Mountain Made Low for two reasons: First, I was scheduled to be on a panel with them (Alex’s preferred pronoun) and I like to shock other panelists by being familiar with their work. Second, Alex and I have the same literary agent so I wanted to peek over their shoulder.

Like Turtles All the Way Down and How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Every Mountain Made Low puts the reader in the PoV of someone who is atypical. In this case, Loxley Fiddleback is an autistic
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every Mountain Made Low was written by Alex White, who also wrote The Gearheart. I expect many of the initial readers of this book came to it from the Gearheart. Alex has demonstrated a brilliant eye for fascinating worlds that tease the imagination and colorful characters. If you read his previous work, which you should because it is free, then you already have a sense of what to expect. However this book is different from his other work, where as Gearheart was an adult aimed steam punk adventu ...more
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dealing with disabilities, sexual assault, murder, torture…not exactly story hour topics. And that is just simplifying the main topic. imagine being me… as analytical as I am trying to not overly analyse and not loose yourself in the process… Well, not happening …
IT IS AMAZING TO READ IT! NEVER LOSE THE OPPORTUNITY TO. Different doesn’t begin to describe it. I am absolutely smitten with it. Some might find it’s lenght overwellming but with so much story to tell, it’s little wonder that the lengt
Nick Newman
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This has to be one of my best 'books I picked up because the cover was cool'. To me it felt like the lovechild between noir, detective fiction and YA. Our protagonist, Loxley, is a girl who can see ghosts. She also happens to be extremely anxious, queer, and deals with a disability, and she's one of the most realistic characters I've read in years. Her sensory overloads and stimming (repetitive moments like flapping your hands) are well-written, but this isn't just a book about that: they're a v ...more
Review originally published in SFX magazine, issue 281 (January 2017). 3.5 stars.


Basic social interaction is governed by a host of unspoken rules and body language cues that most of us take for granted, because we don’t remember learning how they work. But for Loxley, who may be on the autistic spectrum (the word’s never used in the book), tone of voice and facial expression are parts of a foreign language that she’s spent years learning how to decipher, and that she has to work at every singl
Alison Thompson
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, scifi
I was totally captivated by this book and in love with the protagonist until I was about 3/4 done and the story started to drag.
The main character, Loxley, is autistic and the story is told from her point of view. She is a refreshingly different type of protagonist from most scifi, and genuinely interesting.
Unfortunately in the last quarter of the novel the author seems to go the way of so many YA writers. No matter how much Loxley tries to push people away they still stand by her and come to h
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was at the library, asking the librarian for book recommendations for an upcoming beach trip, and a man approached me, handing me a book and asked if I would consider reading this one. I said sure, looks interesting. Low and behold it was the author!!

Man this was a deep book. Was very heavy for some ocean side reading. But it was a very thought provoking book. Loxley is a complex character in a complex world. I liked the sometimes jarring narration as it felt organic to Loxley’s thought proce
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracey the Lizard Queen
Originally reviewed at:

3.5 stars

Tough one to rate.

It seems there are some unfavourable reviews out there. The biggest gripes appear to be the setting and the protagonist. I think those reviews are not fair. Whilst this is no literary gem, I found the setting pretty good, and Loxley was the best part of the whole book.

Other complaints include: the way the protagonist is treated and ridiculed. Not much attention is paid to the supporting cast. You are not
Bird Mc cargar
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I plucked this from a shelf in a used book store as I was walking past it to look for good reads. It shouted at me, and I respite fed by purchasing it. Wow, I am glad I did.

Lately all the books I try to enjoy bore me with their obvious plots and over-trying to pop culturalize. But this one excited me!

Able to be relevant without being self conscious or proselytizing. I wont give away a thing by telling you it has a unique protaganist and a page turning pace.
If you fancy a dystopian setting tha
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Girl finds trouble with her family inheritance of interaction with palpable ghosts.

- Unique narrator perspective. This was very engaging in the first half of the book. I had a difficult time putting this story down due to her perspective as what I would imagine is a representation similar to Aspergers.
- Fast paced story with character depth (although this feels muddled closer to the end).
- Unique genre - ghosts? fantasy? science fantasy? science fiction? dystopian?

Worth a read if purely for th
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Alex White was born and raised in the American south. They take photos, write music and spend hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. They value challenging and subversive writing, but they’ll settle for a good time.

In the shadow of rockets in Huntsville, Alabama, Alex lives and works as an experience designer with their spouse, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. Favored past times inc

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